Catch-22 in Ed: Laws to Fix Broken Laws, Which Really Fix Nothing, At All

25 Aug

Here’s my problem with privatizing education – it’s a scandal.

The argument for privatizing public education is that public schools are failing our kids. Alternatives (private education) should be available.

This is great – in theory. If children truly are not learning at an institution, they should be allowed to pursue education elsewhere. But here’s the problem with sending kids away from public schools:

Public schools are determined as “failing” by arbitrary federal laws and standards. The private alternative education centers are not constrained by the laws the government puts on public schools to improve performance. However, private education ventures are being supported by public funds (this is the purpose vouchers serve). If the federal government truly believes that its laws will improve the state of public education, any institution receiving any amount of funding from public tax dollars should be subject to the same laws.

But private institutions are not.

Is this not contradictory? The government imposes laws to improve public schools and shuts them down when they cannot meet standards. In the same breath, our federal powers turn around and hand public funding to schools that are unregulated. Let’s not forget that we’re also shutting down public schools and inviting private charters to take them over. Has anyone ever read this book?

Ah, yes. More federal laws and regulations fix everything!

So we create laws to improve public school performance, and when these laws don’t work, we create more Laws. More Standards. We make schools sign on (ahem, RACE TO THE TOP) to receive desperately needed funding. Then we give funding to lawless schools and marvel at their performance (even though it’s been proven to be no better than a public school).

If we want to offer alternative education to kids using public funds, why can we not create a special public school in which federal laws and regulations are suspended? That way, public funds go to public institutions and the people retain their voice.

Instead, we’re slashing funding for education, giving some of what little we have to private ventures, and attacking those who serve in the public system.

Maybe I’ll just join the military.

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